By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger left Emmanuel Adebayor out of his starting line-up on Sunday because he wants to protect the Togolese striker from burn-out.

Adebayor came off the bench with 23 minutes remaining at Upton Park and assumed the mantle of matchwinner, providing the assist for Julien Faubert's own goal before wrapping up a 2-0 victory over West Ham with a cool finish on the counter-attack.

The 24-year-old's eighth goal of the campaign summed up his importance to Wenger's team but the Frenchman's determination to keep Adebayor fresh means he can expect to take the occasional breather as Arsenal chase silverware on four fronts.

"Last year I overused him," admitted Wenger.

"Now we go into a period where you play every three days. When there is a little breather in the championship you play a game in the Champions League.

"[That's why] I want to rotate a little bit. I have a small, compact squad but it is full of quality and I can only show that by trusting the players who are young but have quality."

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27 Oct 2008